Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 21 March, 2010


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and

things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Blessed Pilgrims Heading to Zion      [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 84

Text: Psalm 84:5-7

I. Where Their Strength Lies

II. How Their Journey Goes

III. Whom They Appear Before

Psalms: 122:1-9; 56:7-13; 63:1-8; 84:4-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM


A Day in God’s Courts    [download]     [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 84

Text: Psalm 84:8-12

I. The Superlative Excellency of It

II. The Many Blessings of It

III. The Earnest Request for It

Psalms: 42:1-5; 57:1-4; 143:6-12; 84:7-12


Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube Site:

CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider:

Matthew Henry on Psalm 84:5: "Those whom he pronounces blessed are here described. They are such as act in religion from a rooted principle of dependence upon God and devotedness to him: Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, who makes thee his strength and strongly stays himself upon thee, who makes thy name his strong tower into which he runs for safety (Prov. 18:10). Happy is the man whose hope is in the Lord his God (Ps. 40:4; Ps. 146:5). Those are truly happy who go forth, and go on, in the exercises of religion, not in their own strength (for then the work is sure to miscarry), but in the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, from whom all our sufficiency is. David wished to return to God’s tabernacles again, that there he might strengthen himself in the Lord his God for service and suffering."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The March CR News is available on the back table, along with Rev. Stewart’s bi-monthly letter to the PRC.

After a week of self-examination, confessing members in good standing are called to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Your participation in the Lord’s Supper is in part a witness that you repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is your righteousness and desire to live a new and godly life. As this heavenly food can be taken to one’s judgment (I Cor. 11:28-30) and as the common reception of this food is a confession of doctrinal unity (Acts 2:42), the elders supervise the partaking of the sacrament. Visitors from other denominations must request permission from the Council.


Tuesday, 7 PM - Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans 

Tuesday, 8 PM - Mark & Lauren at the Hamills 

Wednesday, 1 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse

Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will be studying I Peter 4:12f. on fiery trials.

Ladies Bible study meets this Thursday, 25 March, 10:30 AM, at the Murrays.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Suffering Servant (2): The Man of Sorrows" (Isa. 53:1-3).

Everyone is invited to stay for tea after the evening service next Lord’s Day.

Upcoming Meetings: Shannon Bible Study, Thurs., 1 April, 6 PM, on Ephesians 1

Limerick Lecture, Fri., 2 April, 7:30 PM, on "Charismaticism"

Ballymena Lecture, Ballymena Protestant Hall, Fri., 9 April, 7:30 PM, on "Preaching: The Voice of Christ"

Website Additions: 2 German and 3 Italian translations were added.

Offerings: General Fund: £469.93. Donations: £200 (Building Fund).

PRC News: Rev. W. Langerak declined the call to Hull PRC. Hull’s new trio is Revs. Kuiper, J. Laning and VanderWal.

Luther’s Letter in Behalf of Christian Schools (III)

In the next section of this letter, Luther writes about his hopes for what subjects would be taught in the schools he proposed. Luther recommends a liberal arts education. Luther recognizes that convincing the people to have their children taught languages as a part of such an education would be a tough sell, so this part of his letter is long, but as he begins his case he also slips in a point about stewardship.

But, you say again, if we shall and must have schools, what is the use to teach Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and the other liberal arts? Is it not enough to teach the Scriptures, which are necessary to salvation, in the mother tongue? To which I answer: I know, alas! that we Germans must always remain irrational brutes, as we are deservedly called by surrounding nations. But I wonder why we do not also say: of what use to us are silk, wine, spices, and other foreign articles, since we ourselves have an abundance of wine, corn, wool, flax, wood, and stone in the German states, not only for our necessities, but also for embellishment and ornament? The languages and other liberal arts, which are not only harmless, but even a greater ornament, benefit, and honour than these things, both for understanding the Holy Scriptures and carrying on the civil government, we are disposed to despise; and the foreign articles which are neither necessary nor useful, and which besides greatly impoverish us, we are unwilling to dispense with. Are we not rightly called German dunces and brutes?

Luther also warns, "And let this be kept in mind, that we will not preserve the Gospel without the languages. The languages are the scabbard in which the Word of God is sheathed." Luther explains his call for instruction in languages:

But many of the church fathers, you say ... have taught without a knowledge of the languages. That is true. But to what do you attribute their frequent misunderstanding of the Scriptures? How often is St. Augustine in error in the Psalms and in other expositions ... without an acquaintance with the original tongues? And if perchance they have taught correct doctrine, they have not been sure of the application to be made of particular passages ... When the faith is thus defended with uncertain reasons and proof-texts, does it not seem a disgrace and mockery in the eyes of such adversaries as are acquainted with the Greek and the Hebrew?

One might be surprised to learn that today there are those who would agree with Luther’s call. Some investigation discovered textbooks available for third grade and above in Latin and Greek. I was not able to find any materials for instruction in Hebrew in the elementary grades, however. Luther’s goal was for students to learn the Bible and be able to read and understand it on their own. Our schools share that goal. We are in a different position, however, as compared to the saints of Luther’s day. We have a beautiful, faithful translation of God’s Word in the King James Version. I realize that the KJV is not perfect, and our ministers illuminate us in their sermons about where improvements could be made, but there certainly are not as many archaic words in the KJV as its detractors charge. As a comparison, if your house serves you well, would you demolish it and build something new just because you notice a few cracks in the drywall?

Luther proceeds to write of the benefits of a liberal arts education to civil government, and he renews his call to the city governments to establish schools since the common people cannot do it and the princes and lords will not.

But were they instructed in schools or elsewhere by thoroughly qualified male or female teachers, who taught the languages, other arts, and history, then the pupils would hear the history and maxims of the world, and see how things went with each city, kingdom, prince, man, and woman; and thus, in a short time, they would be able to comprehend, as in a mirror, the character, life, counsels, undertakings, successes, and failures, of the whole world from the beginning. From this knowledge they could regulate their views, and order their course of life in the fear of God, having become wise in judging what is to be sought and what avoided in this outward life, and capable of advising and directing others. But the training which is given at home is expected to make us wise through our own experience. Before that can take place, we shall die a hundred times, and all through life act injudiciously; for much time is needed to give experience.

Near the end of this letter, Luther spells out just what kind of schools he would like established. As you read the following quotations, keep in mind that when Luther wrote this letter, he was unmarried. His proposition that all children, boys and girls, attend school for an hour or two each day was a radical idea for that time. At that time the children of the lower classes rarely attended school. Also, note that Luther understands education needs to change as the world changes.

As for myself, if I had children and were able, I would have them learn not only the languages and history, but also singing, instrumental music, and the whole course of mathematics ... How I regret that I did not read more poetry and history, and that no one taught me in these branches ...

The world has changed, and things go differently. My idea is that boys should spend an hour or two a day in school, and the rest of the time work at home, learn some trade and do whatever is desired, so that study and work may go on together, while the children are young and can attend to both. They now spend tenfold as much time in shooting with crossbows, playing ball, running and tumbling about.

In like manner, a girl has time to go to school an hour a day, and yet attend to her work at home; for she sleeps, dances, and plays away more than that. The real difficulty is found alone in the absence of an earnest desire to educate the young, and to aid and benefit mankind with accomplished citizens. The devil much prefers blockheads and drones, that men may have more abundant trials and sorrows in the world.

But the brightest pupils, who give promise of becoming accomplished teachers, preachers, and workers, should be kept longer at school, or set apart wholly for study ...

So Luther has stated his case for the establishment of schools to educate children in the liberal arts. Christian education has followed Luther’s advice for nearly 500 years. Has the world changed so much that a liberal arts education no longer has its advantages? I think our parental elementary and high schools with their liberal arts curricula provide our children with the skills they need to be of service in the church and to make their way in today’s world. Today’s difficult job market presents challenges for the new college graduates in our denomination. However, a college degree does open more opportunities for them, but only if they have followed a course of study which had a definite goal in mind from the outset. We need to give more career guidance to our young people, and if we do not know what particular advice to give them, we can at least direct them to fellow members of our churches who do know about different aspects of the modern job market.

Luther ends his letter, interestingly enough, with a call for establishing public libraries. The books he would include give more insight into what he wishes to be taught in school.

In the first place, a library should contain the Holy Scriptures in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and other languages. Then the best and most ancient commentators in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.

Secondly, such books as are useful in acquiring the languages, as the poets and orators, without considering whether they are heathen or Christian ... For it is from such works that grammar must be learned.

Thirdly, books treating of all the arts and sciences.

Lastly, books on jurisprudence and medicine, though here discrimination is necessary.

A prominent place should be given to chronicles and histories, in whatever languages they may be obtained; for they are wonderfully useful in understanding and regulating the course of the world, and in disclosing the marvellous works of God.

Luther closes his letter with a call to the city councilmen to take his advice concerning education. Although we have learned over the years that Christian education works best when schools are operated by godly parents working together as a covenant community, Luther’s words to the civil authorities do encourage us to maintain our schools.

For God is now graciously present, and offers his aid. If we despise it, we already have our condemnation with the people of Israel, of whom Isaiah says: "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people." And Proverbs 1:24-26: "I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded: but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." Let us then take heed. Consider for example what great zeal Solomon manifested; for he was so much interested in the young that he took time, in the midst of his imperial duties, to write a book for them called Proverbs. And think how Christ himself took the little children in His arms! How earnestly He commends them to us ... in order that He may show us how great a service it is, when we rightly bring them up: on the other hand, how His anger kindles, if we offend the little ones, and let them perish ...

Herewith I commend you all to the grace of God. May He soften your hearts, and kindle therein a deep interest in behalf of the poor, wretched, and neglected youth; and through the blessing of God may you so counsel and aid them as to attain to a happy Christian social order in respect to both body and soul, with all fullness and abounding plenty, to the praise and honour of God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School